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3 summer health myths debunked

Toni-Ann DiSantis

3 summer health myths debunked.

Summer brings with it some wonderful health benefits, like the opportunity to eat local fresh fruits and vegetables, and spend more time being active outdoors. Summer also brings with it some health risks—and flawed information on how to handle those problems. Here we clear up three myths so that you can stay healthy and safe this season:

1. Deet is bad for you.

Unless you’re allergic, most bug bites are harmless. But if you’re in an area known for insects that carry Zika, Lyme, or other mosquito-borne viral diseases, you need an effective bug repellent—one containing at least 20% deet or Picaridin. Oil of lemon eucalyptus repels mosquitos, too, but it doesn’t last as long as chemical preparations. Provided deet and Picaridin products are used as directed (don’t spray directly on face or in enclosed areas, don’t apply over cuts or irritated skin, to name a few key precautions ), research shows they’re safe to use.

2. The higher the sunscreen, the better.

When you apply SPF 50 properly, the sunscreen blocks 98 percent of sunburn-causing UVB rays. By upping to SPF 100, you’re blocking just 1 percent more rays! An SPF between 30 and 50 should be sufficient this season. Note that because of FDA regulations, sunscreen products in the U.S. offer far less protection against cancer-causing UVA than UVB rays, and sunscreens with higher SPF are the least protective against UVA rays.

3. You can’t be dehydrated if you’re not thirsty.

Remaining hydrated is crucial to your health. Without enough water, you may feel fatigued and dizzy, experience muscle cramps and constipation, and undergo a dangerous drop in blood pressure. A good test is to check the color of your urine—the paler, the better. Don’t rely on thirst to remind you to drink—you can become dehydrated even if you’re not feeling thirsty, especially during exercise. If you’re exercising in the heat, drink water or other fluids beforehand, then continue drinking throughout your activity and for several hours afterward. Keep in mind that’s in not just fluids that hydrate; plenty of fruits and vegetables are hydrating, too.